With my readership in mind, the first thing I ought to do is point out that THE TRIP has absolutely nothing to do with the Roger Corman/Peter Fonda film of the same name.
I'd wanted to see this one ever since I caught the trailer at the arthouse. True, I'm not nearly as familiar with the two stars as the original British audience must be... I only knew Steve Coogan as the guy who played directors in both TROPIC THUNDER and HAMLET 2 (I know nothing about the "Alan Partridge Show"), and frankly, I'd never heard of comedian Rob Brydon before. But THE TRIP looked like a lot of fun. But when I saw those two having at it with dueling Michael Caine impersonations? Sign me up.
Imagine MY DINNER WITH ANDRE as a road movie substituting comedians for philosophers. In a mixture of sequences alternating between the clearly staged and the clearly improvised, Coogan and Brydon (playing themselves, of course) join forces on a restaurant tour for a magazine article. And when they're not exchanging snappy comments on the food, the sights and the various accommodations, they're hell-bent on topping each other regarding their comedic skills, the status of their careers, and, of course, the quality of their impressions (Caine, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Sean Connery, Roger Moore and even Christopher Lee--as Scaramanga--among them)!
When the two get "alone time," we're let in on what we may take to be their "real" lives: Brydon has a wife and baby to come home to, while Coogan has an empty flat waiting for him as he yearns for more serious film exposure (this leads to some simultaneously hilarious and touching dream sequences: one featuring Ben Stiller).
Outside of the Caine and Bond duels, the funniest sustained sequence is probably the one in which Coogan obliges Brydon by delivering his pre-rehearsed speech for the latter's funeral (should it come to that, of course).
In all, it's a fine entertainment... but here's the problem. British audiences saw THE TRIP as a television miniseries. We get the "distilled" feature version. And what I saw at the arthouse was a poor video projection that ruined any sense of travelogue and wasted some unquestionably beautiful scenery.
The MOVIE itself comes happily recommended. But this is one time I strongly suggest that you wait for the DVD--it's just the way it was meant to be seen, I guess.
As in not off. If you want to post about mainstream flicks, this is the forum.
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